The Siblings Project (January 2017)

This year has been off to the best ever start for us. Our final part to complete our family arrived on 2nd January. We couldn’t be any happier and every time I look at her my heart is bursting with love, joy and pride.

I’ve been following The Siblings Project for a while now and couldn’t wait to finally be able to take part. I love the idea of taking pictures of the children each and every month. Documenting their growth and relationship to one another will make for such great memories to look back on in years to come.

My older girl (it still feels weird to write this as she was our little girl for so long) has been ever so good. Ever since we found out that we were expecting, she was over the moon. She would kiss the bump, sing to it and stroke it on a regular basis. Her anticipation of becoming a big sister has been immense. We weren’t sure whether she would still react like this when baby was here, but we didn’t need to worry. She is the perfect big sister! Yes, sometimes we do have to tell her to be careful and that the baby isn’t a toy. She would love to hold her hand and stroke her constantly, but babies do need (at least) some sleep.

We took these pictures yesterday and they mean so incredibly much to us. Seeing the love and admiration of our older girls face is so touching. Our baby girl has fitted into our family so nicely and it feels as if she has always been here.

 

The Me and Mine Project

TALK OF THE TOWN #45 – What is Romance? Event at Waterstones

Welcome back to Talk of the Town, a weekly link-up I am co-hosting with Shaz from Jera’s Jamboree. We’d love you to share your book related blog posts with us.  Please visit my Talk of the Town page if you are unsure of how a link-up works. We are looking forward to reading your blog posts.

I didn’t manage to do any reading this week. With a brand new baby in the house (who very much likes staying awake during the night), I try and catch up on sleep whenever she is sleeping during the day. I love these newborn days though – there is nothing better than to look into the little person’s face and be overcome with absolute pride and joy.

For this week’s #ToTT, I wanted to  share this exciting event with you. I won’t be able to attend, but maybe that’s something of interest to you? On Monday, 13th February, four romance writers will get together at Tottenham Court Road Waterstones in London and discuss the Romance genre; how it has evolved over time – the impact of feminism and self-publishing – and where it is heading now. Audiences will also be offered a free glass of wine upon arrival. The four writers are: Isabelle Broom, Sarah Morgan, Nicole Cornick and Jean Fullerton. They will be interviewed by Fanny Blake, books editor for Woman & Home. More details for the event can be found here.

TALK OF THE TOWN is sponsored by Black and White Publishing who kindly support a monthly giveaway. Everyone who tweets with the hashtag #ToTT will be entered into this giveaway for either a single book or a book bundle.   The giveaway might be paperback (UK/ROI) or digital (UK/ROI/INTL).  The winner will be randomly selected using Tweetdraw and books will be sent directly from Black & White Publishing. If you are sharing my weekly post please include @bwpublishing if possible. Thank you :-).

Showcase book of the month: The Secret Life of Lucy Lovecake by Pippa James.

TALK OF THE TOWN #44 – We have a brand new sponsor!

Welcome back to #TalkoftheTown, a weekly link-up I am co-hosting with Shaz from Jera’s Jamboree. We’d love you to share your book related blog posts with us.

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and a brilliant start to the New Year. I need to apologise for my lack of blog posts lately, but I do have a perfect excuse. We welcomed our second daughter on Monday. We are all doing well and very much enjoy our new family setting. My oldest daughter couldn’t be any prouder of becoming a big sister. She adores our new addition and literally does not let her out of her sight.

From one exciting bit of news to the next: Talk of the Town has a new sponsor, Black & White Publishing. I am a huge fan of this publishing house and have read so many great books and have discovered a wide array of new talented authors. Shaz and I are so pleased and cannot wait to share more details with you over the coming weeks.

About Black & White Publishing

Black & White Publishing was founded in 1999. Since then, they’ve grown into one of Scotland’s leading independent publishers with over 300 books in print across a variety of genres. Committed to publishing the best books from the most talented writers in the UK and beyond theyproduce an extensive range of titles, including general non-fiction,  biography,  sport and humour,  as well as selected fiction,  young adult and children’s books.

Each month, we will introduce one of their new releases to you. This month the chosen title is The Secret Life of Lucy Lovecake by Pippa James.

Daisy Delaney’s life is pancake-flat. A talented baker and passionate lingerie specialist, she has wound up with no one to bake for and a career that hasn’t proved successful. But when she starts a delicious relationship with famous French author-chef, Michel Amiel, everything begins to look a bit more exciting.
 
That is, until Michel’s bestselling cookbook is knocked off the top spot by newcomer ‘Lucy Lovecake’. His outdated recipes slide down the charts while the popularity of Lucy Lovecake’s new dating cookbook is rising like the perfect sponge.
 
As Daisy teeters on the brink of love, how can she ever tell Michel that she is the mysterious Lucy Lovecake? Could he ever forgive her for finishing off his career? And more importantly, does Daisy even want to be with a difficult, egotistical, down-on-his-luck Frenchman just as her career is beginning to take off? Especially when she has some other very interesting offers…
 


Sleepless Nights

image

Here we are. I am nearly 36 weeks pregnant. This pregnancy has just raced by. I really want to savour these last few weeks (hopefully) as we know that this will be our last baby. We always wanted two children and having two girls is an absolute bonus! Our daughter is so excited at becoming a big sister and she has already formed quite a strong bond with the bump. A bond, that sometimes brings a tear to my eye! As soon as she wakes up in the morning she wants to kiss and stroke the bump. The other day she kept some of her chocolates back saying it’s for her little sister… Too cute!

Apart from the recurrent colds and my sinus problems, I have no pregnancy related aches or pains (which I am super grateful for). Sleeping is the only thing that isn’t really happening right now. However, I can still remember that this was just the same with our daughter during the last weeks of pregnancy.

I fall asleep quite easily in the evenings, but am woken up by frequent toilet visits (oh the joy of baby pressing on the bladder!). I don’t always fall asleep straight after, but strangely I don’t mind. I quite like being awake when my surroundings are completely quiet (apart from the gentle snoring from my husband and believe it or not from our cat who usually sleeps under our bed…). This is usually my time to think. To think about what’s to come. That in only a few short weeks we will be welcoming the final puzzle piece to our family. This thought just fills me with so much love and joy. I can feel baby kick when I am lying in bed awake and this is honestly just the best feeling in the world!

Our daughter was born at 37 weeks and I know that this doesn’t necessarily mean that this baby will be early too, but I do have a feeling she might be. But maybe she will surprise us all and doesn’t make an appearance before her due date. Who knows? Either way we are so incredibly excited and cannot wait to hold this baby in our arms.

 I am linking this post with Heledd at Running in Lavender for #MyCapturedMoment.

Children’s Book Review: Five Minutes’ Peace by Jill Murphy (Talk of the Town #43)

Welcome back to #TalkoftheTown, a weekly link-up I am co-hosting with Shaz from Jera’s Jamboree. We’d love you to share your book related blog posts with us. Please visit my Talk of the Town page if you are unsure of how a link-up works. We are looking forward to reading your blog posts.

How is it only just about 2 weeks to Christmas?? I’d better start to get organised. I am now officially on maternity leave and can fully concentrate on buying the last Christmas presents and prepare for Baby #2’s arrival in a few weeks time.

#TalkoftheTown will go on a Christmas break. This week  will be the last link-up for 2016, but fear not. We will be back on 7th January with some super exciting news! I cannot wait to share more details with you all. Thanks so much to everyone who has supported our Talk of the Town link-up in over the last few weeks!!

For the last Talk of the Town post of 2016, I am sharing our thoughts on the children’s book, Five Minutes’ Peace. This book is part of the Large Family series, that we had never even heard of before we picked up this instalment. We will definitely get a few other Large Family books – they are truly amazing!

916-6z0pmzl

I think that my husband and I might even love this book more than other daughter. I swear it is secretly written for parents :-). Mrs Large has 3 little ones who are, how can I put this, quite challenging (just like little humans can sometimes be…). All she wants is five minutes peace away from her brood. Whilst the little ones are having their breakfast, she runs herself a bath, pours herself a cup of tea and is about to head upstairs when she hears a chorus of: “Where are you going, mummy?”.

After just a few minutes in the bath, the young elephant children follow her upstairs – the oldest wants to play her a tune on their flute, the middle one to read a few pages from her reading book and the youngest wants to jump in the bath together with Mrs Large. Sounds familiar??

 My husband and I always chuckle when we read this book. There is definitely a lot in there that every parent will be able to identify with. We’ve only bought this book a few weeks back, but it has become a firm family favourite.

Are you familiar with the Large Family series? Have you read any of the books?

IMG-20160205-WA0003


Guest Post by Laura Briggs (Talk of the Town #42)

Welcome back to #TalkoftheTown, a weekly link-up I am co-hosting with Shaz from Jera’s Jamboree. We’d love you to share your book related blog posts with us. Please visit my Talk of the Town page if you are unsure of how a link-up works. We are looking forward to reading your blog posts.

christmas-cornwall-amazon-cover-2

I am so pleased to be welcoming Laura Briggs to the blog today. Laura’s Christmas release, A Christmas in Cornwall, is out now. Laura has kindly written a guest post about Cornwall for my blog readers. Cornwall is somewhere I always wanted to visit, but have never gotten round to doing so. Oh well, one day for sure!

Five Things I Learned (and Love) About Cornwall
(Guest Post by Laura Briggs)

I love England. And I love Cornwall. Sadly, however, I’ve only been to England once (on a school trip, actually), and wasn’t lucky enough to visit Cornwall during my stay. So when I began writing about it in A WEDDING IN CORNWALL, I realized all my knowledge of it came from ‘Doc Martin’ and the hit series ‘Poldark’! So I did a little … then a lot more …research while writing, and learned more about one of England’s most beautiful and most unique counties, full of culture and history. So here are five of the ‘fun facts’ I learned that found their way into A WEDDING IN CORNWALL, A CHRISTMAS IN CORNWALL, and the upcoming third book A COTTAGE IN CORNWALL.

#5  Heath — One of Cornwall’s Native Plants

Heath is as quintessentially English as the moors … but I had always pictured it in THE SECRET GARDEN’s Yorkshire world, and never knew that it was one of Cornwall’s native, rugged flora, nor that it was protected. But I learned all this and more when I wrote the first cliffside encounter between Julianne and Matt. Cornwall is full of beautiful wildflowers, so choosing a plant was hard, but I chose heath because it seemed like such a perfect representation of Cornwall’s character. And, maybe, a little bit perfect as a representation of Julianne herself!

#4 The Cliffs

The coasts of Cornwall are breathtaking. Even if you’ve only seen pictures, like I have, the beauty of its shores can really be mind-blowing. Until I began this book, I had only a vague idea (Doc Martin, remember?) so much of A WEDDING IN CORNWALL’s coastal beauty was originally inspired by other parts of England…but when I began visiting blogs and websites by Cornwall’s natives and visitors, the Cornish reality began to take form in my head. The view of the shore and the sea factors into every story somehow, and feels almost like another story character to me now. I even named the manor house in honor of it, in fact (the original name — that’s another story).

#3 Oggies

Meat pies are a Cornish specialty, and residents have very decided opinions on what constitutes a quality ‘oggie,’ I learned! I tried to describe their favorite tradition as best I could when writing the scene in Charlotte’s shop, and it definitely made my mouth water as much as Julianne’s did. The only thing better than reading Cornish opinions on English pasties is watching pasties being cooked on The Great British Bake Off.

#2 The Cornish Tongue

Ah, Cornish! Not an easy language, as I learned from a little research. It has ties to other languages — it has spelling difficulties that make one’s head spin and pronunciations that my American tongue simply can’t attempt. But I made my best attempt to include a little of it in the story because Cornwall just isn’t the same without its language, as I’ve come to understand. Village names come from it, boats and landmarks are called by its tongue, and local phrases and slang are derived from it. In A WEDDING IN CORNWALL, the village name is taken from two common Cornish/Old Welsh words (the spelling is a little imperfect, as I’ve since learned!) Julianne and Matt visit the famous Lowarth Helegan gardens, whose name means ‘Willow Tree,’ and even Rosemoor Cottage has a reference point in Cornish.

#1 Troyls

It’s a running joke in the story — Julianne’s confusion over the traditional Cornish evening of music and dance, which comes up yet again in A CHRISTMAS IN CORNWALL. To me, a troyl seems like the Cornish version of an Irish ceili, although I’ve also learned that it served as a traditional festival or celebration at the end of the fishing season in different parts of Cornwall. And you even sense a little kinship with Scotland in the fact that kilts are sometimes worn by the men (hence Julianne’s blush over indulging in a little mental picture of Matt in attendance).

From the ‘Lizard’ to the flavor saffron, I’ve learned far more about Cornwall than the ‘fun facts’ I just named from the first book…and what I’ve learned since then found its way into the Christmas sequel, and into the third book I’m releasing in January (where I learned a little more about a famous Cornish tourist spot, and about springtime in Cornwall). I hope the world they helped create will help readers escape to a little part of Cornwall, even if they’re as far away from it as I am!

About Laura

Laura Briggs’ first stories were written in crayon about a rooster named Henry–but she was pretty young at the time, so it’s understandable. She eventually graduated to writing more complex plot lines and characters and writing her stories on a laptop. She tends to write stories with a romance theme, but as a reader she has a soft spot for mysteries, including those by Agatha Christie and Mary Roberts Rinehart. She also enjoys books by Jane Austen, Anne Tyler, Amy Tan, and too many others to name. In her free time, she likes to experiment with new recipes and tries to landscape her yard (a never-ending project).

Author Website: http://paperdollwrites.blogspot.com/

Twitter Account: http://bit.ly/1ME9ivJ

Facebook Page: http://on.fb.me/1JjeMoI

Thank you so much for visiting today, Laura.

IMG-20160205-WA0003


<!– end InLinkz script –>

Win a copy of Debbie Johnson’s Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe (Talk of the Town #41)

Welcome back to #TalkoftheTown, a weekly link-up I am co-hosting with Shaz from Jera’s Jamboree. We’d love you to share your book related blog posts with us. Please visit my Talk of the Town page if you are unsure of how a link-up works. We are looking forward to reading your blog posts.

image

I read and reviewed Debbie Johnson’s Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe a few weeks back and absolutely loved it. The lovely people at HarperImpulse are kindly offering one lucky blog reader the chance to win their own copy of this festive book. All you need to do is enter via the Rafflecopter link below (UK only, I am afraid). The giveaway will be live for one week. The prize will be sent to the lucky winner directly from Harper Collins Headquarters. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

IMG-20160205-WA0003


Autumn Leaves

I am not the biggest fan of Autumn and Winter (apart from Christmas obviously), but I do like the changing Autumn leaves. The colours are stunning and if it is cold but sunny (definitely emphasis on sunny here!) walking on/in the crunchy leaves can be so much fun.

Last weekend we spent pretty much one whole afternoon raking up the leaves in our garden (I swear you couldn’t even see the grass anymore). Our little girl had so much fun helping her daddy with the leaves. I am not sure how much help she actually was in the end, but both had a brilliant time.

I only made it outside for a few minutes as I was still suffering from an acute sinusitis (I am starting to feel better now though – finally!). Because I am nearly 33 weeks pregnant, there was not a lot of medication I could take to soothe the pain. I took the odd paracetamol, but tried to limit them as much as possible.

Here are a few pictures I took at the weekend.

image

image

image

image

 I am linking this post with Heledd at Running in Lavender for #MyCapturedMoment.

Children’s Book Review: There’s Not One by Jennifer Higgie (Talk of the Town #40)

Welcome back to #TalkoftheTown, a weekly link-up I am co-hosting with Shaz from Jera’s Jamboree. We’d love you to share your book related blog posts with us. Please visit my Talk of the Town page if you are unsure of how a link-up works. We are looking forward to reading your blog posts.

For this week’s Talk of the Town, I am sharing our thoughts on the children’s book There’s Not One, a review I have published a few days ago.

unnamed

OUR THOUGHTS ON THE BOOK

There’s Not One is without a doubt a standout picture book. It is very different to other picture books, yet strangely alluring. The storyline itself and also the illustrations are rather abstract which our little girl absolutely loved. It is very simply written so that young readers can actually read the story without much help from an adult. There’s Not One is very diverse and looks at different things around us (from baked beans to leaves and even stars).

To be honest, it took me quite a while to get used to the book as I was expecting a quite ordinary children’s book. However, there is not much ordinary about this book at all – which by no means is a negative! Our daughter loves and was intrigued by There’s Not One from the beginning on.

If you are looking for a slightly different and abstract children’s book which is engaging the curious minds of your little ones, that There’s Not One is certainly the right choice for you. 

Disclosure: We received a free copy of this book, but all thoughts and opinions are entirely our own.


My Reading Habits (Talk of the Town #39)

Welcome back to #TalkoftheTown, a weekly link-up I am co-hosting with Shaz from Jera’s Jamboree. We’d love you to share your book related blog posts with us. Please visit my Talk of the Town page if you are unsure of how a link-up works. We are looking forward to reading your blog posts.

For this week’s Talk of the Town, I had a slightly different post planned. I originally wanted to share my review of Julia Williams’ newest release It’s A Wonderful Life. I am hugely excited for this title and did a little squeal when it arrived in the post. I started the first few chapters, but was then struck by a horrific cold that turned into a chronic sinusitis. With me being 31 weeks pregnant basically means that I cannot take much medication (well, none to be fair – apart from a paracetamol here and there) to ease the pain. I am hoping daily that my symptoms will improve, but no luck so far. Right – enough with the moaning, but this basically means that I haven’t read anymore pages from Julia’s fantastic book as I cannot concentrate on anything at the moment. However, this gave me the idea of sharing my reading habits with you. Illness taken aside, the amount of books I read per month (even per week) is certainly never consistent.

Quite often, I will take a little reading break when I read a book that had a huge impact on me (that can either be a thought-provoking novel or a book that left a huge impression on me). I often find, that I need to take a little break to properly “digest” the book.

I also feel that a read a little more in the winter than in the summer. Nothing is more comfortable than cuddling up on the sofa to my husband drinking a hot chocolate and indulging in a fantastic novel.

My most favourite place to read? Well, that’s a rather hard one! In the summer time it would definitely be on a sunlounger in the garden. During the colder month, I love to read in the bath (this is where paperbacks come in more handy than my kindle –  I am the most clumsiest person on the planet, and I am sure the kindle would probably take a bath before I even had the change to read a whole chapter). My third preferred reading space is my bed – especially after a hard day at work, I find it super relaxing to read a few chapters before I turn the light off and fall asleep.

What are your reading habits?

IMG-20160205-WA0003